Africa This Week: Feeling the Continent’s Pulse

Stories emerging from our beautiful continent aren’t sparking delight. They are currently laced with more tragedy than good news, yet there’s so much to be on the look out for.

The most terrifying part is how it doesn’t look like the worst has come. Yet, every turn you make as an African, you’re hit with something that beats your imagination or fuels your rage.

Old Foes And New Friends

Only last week, France tried to cozy its way back to re-energising its relationship with Rwanda, after the role it played in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. While the EU giant stopped short of tendering an apology, it admitted its wrongdoing in one of the continent’s most disturbing periods.

Thousands of Rwandans died in that genocide and Paris admitted playing a major role in it.

In Southern Africa, Germany is making reparation attempts in Namibia, albeit with a ridiculous offer. For its role in the 20th century (1904-1908) Genocide on the people of Ovaherero(also known as Herero) and Nam in the old German South Africa, authorities in Germany approved the sum of €1.2bn for the reconstruction of the affected tribes. The Namibian Government accepted without duly consulting the affected people and that exactly underlines leadership in Africa. The people have been sold for peanuts, again.

The families destroyed in Herero and Nam are yet to get a grip on life. Living in near abject poverty has been established, feeding is difficult, and it’s been over 100 years since that Genocide took place.

Do people or nations truly recover from these wars? Do they ever fully recover from the economic and mental damage done? Like Sierra-Leone, like Liberia, like Nigeria, money won’t fix Namibia, more so the money offered is a slap in the face.

Burkina-beasts of No Nation

Burkina Faso woke up to a terrible news on Saturday, with at least 132 people killed in Solhan village, Yaga province which lies on the border with Niger. The security of the Sahel countries is arguably at its worst in history. Despite the change of leadership by the Burkinabes, not much seem to have changed on the security front. They’ve just faced their worst attack in years. Local reports have linked the attack to ISWAP and Al-Qaeda insurgents terrorising the region.

Niger and Mali are also being terrorised by insurgents with the leadership problems in Mali also threatening the fight against insurgency. Now suspended by ECOWAS and the AU, Mali is losing its friends at an alarming constancy. There are threats to democracy in the country, the world says, but even the democratic countries on the continent have their rights to fairness threatened.

Nigeria’s Caged Birds Are Singing

On Friday, the Nigerian government announced a suspension of microblogging social platform, Twitter, in response to the removal of Nigeria’s President Buhari’s controversial tweets. The Presidency remarked that the removal of the tweet is disappointing as it is working to ensure that the country isn’t fanning the embers of war again. Ironically, the statement by the President itself was capable of raising the spectres of that low point in Nigeria’s history and the decision to suspend Twitter in the country was thought through the lens of individuals alone. Popular opinions say it was a personal decision, a grandstanding of a man whose image and emotion is more important than his people’s survival. Those who survive here, majority of whom are youths who have an opportunity to interact and even engage in meaningful and profitable businesses, are not happy.

The entire country has sought other means away from the ban and the threats are flying again.

On Twitter, Nigerian youths get series of opportunities and the brash decisions by the Nigerian government could be indicative of the distance most Nigerian leaders have with reality. In a country where jobs are hardly available and the youths have creatively devised means of survival,yet the government finds ways to snatch that livelihood with glee.

While that was causing a ruckus across the West African country, reports filtered in that bandits had shelled 88 people in Kebbi, North East Nigeria on Thursday. Now this is an example of where the Government’s grand reactions are needed. It was another painful reality of the level of our struggles with insecurity. Nigeria struggles a lot yet carries the dreams of hundreds of millions of people.

Ninety-nine autopsies were presented at the Lagos State panel on Saturday, with three of them said to be from Lekki Tollgate incident. The questions are up again. Autopsies of dead Nigerians from street protests and a blockade, not war! What then, does war look like?

The Calm and The Storm

Mozambicans are afraid of the little calm they’re experiencing, they are unsure if a storm will follow. Central African Republic, Cameroon’s secessionists, Libyan troubles, the Mediterranean deaths from the lack of jobs and growing economic quagmire, South Africa’s political upheavals, food scarcity across the continent, Western Sahara, Algeria and Morocco’s issues, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and its dam(m)ning consequences to Egypt. Practically, every part of Africa is heavy now. And there is still COVID-19 to deal with and the absence of vaccines.

Lest we forget, the volcanic eruptions of Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo have left 500,000 people without water and Tigrayans are still wincing from military presence since November 2020.

80% of their livestock, a major part of their existence have been stolen or slaughtered. The news has turned gory in various directions and there’s so little to be cheery about.

SomalilandThe Little to Cheer About

Somaliland, a breakaway part of Somalia has held its first parliamentary election in 16 years and the opposition has won the majority seats- 31 of the 82 seats in the parliament.

The party with the majority of the seats, Somaliland National Party called WADANNI and the Justice and Welfare Party (UCID), which won 21 seats have both agreed to announce a speaker together as they also hope to work together in the future.

Somaliland will have its Presidential election next year and hopes its successful parliamentary polls will be a springboard for better things to come.

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